Orchestra della Svizzera italiana
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
The Orchestra della Svizzera italiana (Lugano - Canton Ticino - Switzerland), founded in Lugano in 1935 as the Orchestra della Radio della Svizzera italiana, took in 1991 on its current name.
The Orchestra della Svizzera italiana (OSI; literal translation, Orchestra of Italian Switzerland) works with the great names of orchestral conducting andwith internationally acclaimed soloists, performing at major venues both in Switzerland and abroad. Funded principally by the Canton of Ticino, Radiotelevisione svizzera (RSI), the City of Lugano and the Associazione degli Amici dell’OSI, the OSI is one of thirteen professional orchestras currently active in Switzerland. International Partner: Helsinn. Consisting of forty-one permanent musicians, it performs two concert seasons a year for RSI-Rete Due (the RSI Auditorium Concerts and the Rete Due Autumn Concerts at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano), and regularly takes part in the Lugano Festival, the Settimane Musicali in Ascona and the Martha Argerich Project. Its strong ties with the region are maintained through an extensive series of concerts aimed at local communities, including summer concerts, family concerts, school concerts and joint projects with the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana.
Since 2010 the OSI has performed at the Parco della Musica in Rome under Lorin Maazel, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan with Salvatore Accardo, on tour throughout Switzerland with Vadim Repin, in the main theatres of Brazil under John Neschling and in South Korea with Vladimir Ashkenazy. It celebrated the Verdi bicentenary by giving carte blanche to one of the major exponents of the great operatic tradition, Nello Santi, with whom it gave three concerts. In 2012–13 it was also invited to play at the Théâtre Équilibre in Fribourg, the Tonhalle in Zürich, the Stadtcasino Musiksaal in Basel and the Zermatt Festival; at the Sala Verdi of the Conservatorio di Milano, the Teatro Fraschini in Pavia and the Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona; and at the Franziskaner Konzerthaus in Villingen-Schwenningen.
The OSI has made numerous studio recordings both for radio and for important record labels such as Chandos, Hyperion, EMI and Deutsche Gramophon. Its recordings for Deutsche Gramophon include the much-prized four-CD boxed set issued in 2012 to mark the first ten years of the orchestra’s concerts for the Martha Argerich Project. Its awards include the recent Diapason d’Or (January 2015) for its CD of the symphonies of Gounod on the CPO label.
Founded in Lugano in 1935 as the Orchestra della Radio della Svizzera italiana, it played a crucial role in the region’s musical development, helping to establish important festivals in Lugano, Locarno and Ascona from the 1940s. Over the years it was directed by great musical figures such as Ansermet, Stravinsky, Stokowski, Celibidache and Scherchen, and collaborated with composers such as Mascagni, Richard Strauss, Honegger, Milhaud, Martin and Hindemith, and more recently with Berio, Henze and Penderecki. Its first principal conductor Leopoldo Casella was succeeded in 1938 by Otmar Nussio from Graubünden, under whose directorship (to 1968) the orchestra gave a greatly increased number of concerts, opening the way to international engagements. From 1969 to 1991, with Marc Andreae as its principal conductor, the Orchestra della Radio Televisione della Svizzera italiana (as it was now called) consolidated its reputation, expanding its repertoire and fostering first performances of works by major living composers.
In 1991 the orchestra took on its current name and began to win international recognition, performing in the most prestigious venues in cities such as Vienna, Amsterdam, St Petersburg, Paris, Milan and Salzburg. In 1999 it began its close partnership with Alain Lombard, who first took over as principal conductor and then in 2005 was appointed honorary conductor. From 2008 to 2010 it was also fortunate to have Mikhail Pletnev as principal guest conductor. Since September 2013 the OSI has worked with the great conductor and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, who will direct the orchestra for the next four seasons as principal guest conductor. Starting with the 2015-2016 season, OSI will be led by German conductor Markus Poschner, that in the important function of principal conductor, will sopport it in his future developments.
- Markus Poschner (from September 2015) principal conductor
- Vladimir Ashkenazy (from September 2013) principal guest conductor
- Alain Lombard (from 2005) honorary conductor and (1999 - 2005) principal conductor
- Mikhail Pletnev (2008 - 2010) principal guest conductor
- Serge Baudo (1997 - 2000) principal guest conductor
- Nicholas Carthy (1993 - 1996) principal conductor
- Marc Andreae (1969 - 1991) principal conductor
- Otmar Nussio (1938 - 1968) principal conductor
- Leopoldo Casella (1933 - 1938) principal conductor
- Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana Official website
- Official orchestra history
- RSI page with mention of the first concert of the orchestra on 2 January 1935
- Amici della Musica program, 24 January 2009, with information on the orchestra